NCAA Track Berths On the Line at West Regional
May 24, 2005
On the Track: While last week's Pac-10 Championships were about 'team,' the focus this week is on the individual, specifically the 32 Huskies who will fight for NCAA Championships berths at the 2005 NCAA West Regional Championships in Eugene, Ore. With 12 women's teams and 10 men's squads ranked among the top-25 in at least one of the two major polls, and championships berths guaranteed only to the top-five finishing individuals and top-three relays, the competition is sure to be intense. The two-day meet runs all day Friday and Saturday at the Ducks' Hayward Field; for a complete event schedule, visit www.goducks.com.
NCAA Championships Qualifying: The NCAA West Regional is one of four regional championship meets being contested nationwide May 27-28. The top-five individuals and top-three relays in each event at each of the four regionals will earn automatic qualification to next month's NCAA Championships. The next three finishers in each event (6-7-8 for individuals, 4-5-6 for relays) will then be dropped into an at-large pool, from which approximately 6-7 individuals and 2-3 relays will be added to the championships field, in order of their season-best marks. The 10,000 meters and multi-events are not contested at the regional; athletes in those events qualify directly for the NCAA Championships by meeting provisional and automatic standards.
Seeding the Field: Ten Huskies enter the 2005 NCAA West Regional ranked among the region's top-five in their event, while seven more boast marks among their event's top-eight. That list includes three women's pole vaulters, led by third-ranked Kate Soma, and including No. 5 Carly Dockendorf and Ashley Wildhaber, tied for sixth. Fear not if your favorite Husky is not among the top-five -- in the two years of regional competition, five of the UW's nine automatic NCAA Championships qualifiers have entered the meet ranked sixth or lower. For a complete list of UW competitors and their regional and national rankings, see the box on page three of this release.
Meet Results: Results from the 2005 NCAA West Regional will be posted live throughout the meet to www.goducks.com, while results from all four regionals can be found at www.ncaasports.com. In addition, a complete recap highlighting all UW competition at the meet will be posted to GoHuskies.com at the end of each day's competition.
2004 Regional Review:The balance of luck should be tipping in Washington's favor at this year's NCAA West Regional, after 17 hundredths of a second proved the difference between three and six NCAA qualifiers at the 2004 event in Northridge, Calif. Two UW women earned automatic spots in the pole vault, with Kate Soma placing second and Carly Dockendorf third. Senior Megan Spriestersbach also earned an automatic berth with a second-place finish in the javelin. In one heartbreaking 40-minute stretch on the track, however, four UW runners earned sixth-place finishes, includingmisses of two seconds by Lindsey Egerdahl in the 1,500 meters, 0.15 seconds by Eric Garner in the men's 1,500, 0.02 secconds by freshman Ashley Lodree in the 100-meter hurdles, and a too-close-to-call 0.001 seconds by senior Todd Arnold in the 800 meters. The sixth-place finishes did lift the UW women leapt to eighthand the Husky men to 17th in the team standings, however,while UCLA swept team titles for the second-straight year.
2005 Pac-10 Redux: A Pac-10 title for sophomore Ryan Brown and eight top-three finishes lifted the UW men to fifth at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships in Los Angeles, its best finish since 2000 and just its fourth top-five finish since the Pac-8 expansion in 1979. Brown, seeded ninth in the 800 meters, outran a talented field for his first-ever Pac-10 title, and the first by a Husky in the event since 1992. Brown then led UW's 4x400-meter relay to third in 3:03.85, seventh-fastest in the nation in 2005 and under the 30-year-old UW record of 3:04.0h. Sophomore Ashley Lodree set a school-record in the 100-meter hurdles for the UW women, who placed eighth. Junior Shane Charles also set a record, breaking his own Grenadan national mark in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.46.
What a Difference a Year Makes: The signs have been there all year, but last weekend's Pac-10 Championships proved that Washington's men's team is officially on the rise. Eight Husky men earned top-three finishes at the meet, a feat accomplished by just one Husky -- then-freshman Martin Bingisser -- in 2004. In fact, the team's eight top-three finishers were just one fewer than its total from the past four years combined, during which just nine Husky men have placed among the top-three at the conference meet. Best of all, of that talented octet (which actually includes nine runners when all four legs of the third-place 4x400m relay are considered), all but two return in 2005, while six have at least two years of eligibility remaining. The Huskies' 75.5 points at the Pac-10 meet were a 30.5-point improvement over its total a year ago, and were just 6.5 points fewer than its total from the past two Pac-10 Championships, combined.
Pac-10 Prowess: While UW's teams have never claimed a Pac-10 title outright, Ryan Brown's win the 800 meters this year did extend an impressive string of six straight seasons with at least one individual champ. The UW has had one titlist in each of the past three years, including Brown, 2004 pole vault winner Kate Soma and 2003 vault champ Brad Walker. The Huskies' longest-ever streak of individual champions was seven years run from 1974-80, including Scott Neilson's four Pac-10 hammer crowns.
Rankings Report: Both UW squads finished the 2005 season in the top-20 of the final USTCA Dual Meet Power Rankings, which simulate head-to-head competition between the nation's top college teams. The UW men closed 2005 at No. 10 with 367.93 points, third-most among Pac-10 schools and just 32 shy of the 397.54 scored by No. 1 Texas Tech. The UW women, meanwhile, earned 341.31 points to finish 20th, while UCLA claimed the final No. 1 ranking at 407.76. Neither team earned mention in the current release of the Trackwire 25, which predicts team scoring at the NCAA Championships. The Arkansas men and Texas women captured top honors from Trackwire, scoring 62 and 64 points, respectively. The UW women earned three points from Trackwire, while the men did not score.
Monster PR of the Week: Washington had relay fever at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships, with three of the team's four relays achieving significant season-best improvements. None went lower than the 4x400-meter relay squad of Sean Williams, Shane Charles, Ryan Brown and Bruce Jackson, which shaved a stunning four seconds off of its previous best to finish in 3:03.85, breaking the 30-year-old UW record of 3:04.0h set by UW's 1975 NCAA mile relay champions. The first three legs put UW on pace for a fast time, but Jackson's thrilling 44.8-second anchor sealed the record, and moved UW up to No. 7 in the NCAA rankings.
Dawg Bites: Sophomore Ashley Lodree was named Pac-10 Women's Track Athlete of the Week on Apr. 25. Lodree ran a Pac-10 leading time of 59.65 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles at Oregon on Apr. 23, and led the Huskies' 4x400-meter relay to a time of 3:44.58, both ninth-fastest in UW history. Lodree was the first UW woman since 1998 to earn the Pac-10 honor ... Washington currently boasts four women's pole vaulters with bests over 13-5, the only such quartet in NCAA history ... Washington's 10 All-Americans at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships were its most ever at an NCAA meet, and equaled the team's total from the last four NCAA Championships combined ... Freshmen Austin Abbott, Norris Frederick and Amanda Miller were All-Americans indoors in 2005, the first UW frosh All-Americans since 1999 ... Kate Soma and Ashley Wildhaber each earned All-America honors indoors in the pole vault, becoming the first UW event tandem to earn All-America honors at the same meet since 1994 ... Lindsey Egerdahl's indoor All-America honor in the women's mile, and that earned by the men's distance medley relay team of Austin Abbott, Sean Williams, Ryan Brown and Andy Fader were the first such awards ever earned by UW competitors in those events ... Two former Huskies are currently serving as Washington assistant coaches. Three-time U.S. javelin champion Duncan Atwood is a volunteer assistant with the Husky spearers, while All-American distance runner David Bazzi works with Washington's men's distance runners.
National Records Abound: Washington athletes have accounted for two national records in 2005, with Grenada's Shane Charles clocking his country's fastest-ever 400-meter hurdles time on two separate occasions, and 2000 UW alum Christian Belz breaking Switzerland's national record at 10,000 meters in April's Cardinal Invitational at Stanford. Charles' third-place time of 50.46 seconds in the Pac-10 Championships final was the second-fastest in UW history, and broke hos own Grenadan national record of 50.76 set in April. In the last four weeks, Charles has lowered Grenada's national record -- which he first set last year -- by nearly half a second, from 50.95 at the start of the year, to 50.76 in April and finally 50.46 in May. He now holds both Grenada's junior and senior national records in the event, and is the nation's reigning 400-meter hurdles champ. Belz, meanwhile, clocked a 27:54.11 in the first 10,000-meter race of his professional career in April, breaking the 20-year-old Swiss record of 27:54.29 set by Markus Ryffel. A two-time Olympian, Belz already owns Switzerland's national record in the steeplechase, and has now qualified himself for the 2005 IAAF World Championships in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events.
Huskies are World-Class: National-record setters Shane Charles and Christian Belz aren't the only Huskies making international headlines this spring -- a number of former Huskies and UW coaches are doing their part this year to make Washington a player on the international scene. Two-time NCAA indoor pole vault champion Brad Walker won the vault at the 2005 USA Indoor Championships in February, and is tied for fifth in the world outdoors in 2005. UW alum Sabrina Monro won the 2005 NACAC Cross Country Championship, while past UW All-Americans Belz and Courtney Inman each excelled at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in France. Additionally, two-time Olympian Aretha Hill, a 1998 UW alum, is ranked eighth in the world in the discus, while 2003 Husky grad Mat Schwinn and UW assistant Kelly Strong, an Arizona State alum, are America's ninth- and fifth-ranked competitors, respectively, in the discus and steeplechase.
Brown Busts Out: It's been barely 14 months since Ryan Brown was out of track and field entirely, having walked away from a promising career, citing a desire to focus on school over sports. So it was a bit surprising to see Brown outkick Pac-10 favorite Jon Rankin of UCLA down the homestretch to win the Pac-10 title at 800 meters last weekend, his time of 1:47.31 the second-fastest in UW history and eighth-best by a collegian this year. The conference's ninth-seeded runner in the event, Brown entered the meet ranked second on his team at 800 meters to freshman Austin Abbott, having never run below 1:49.21 in his two-year college career. Now, he finds himself ranked second in the region entering the 2005 NCAA West Regional, needing only a top-eight finish to all but assure at least an at-large NCAA Championships berth. Brown competed just one year at Renton (Wash.) High School, going undefeated at 800 meters as a senior and defeating current UW teammate Tim Freeman for the state title. He walked on to the UW squad in 2002-03 and had a banner indoor season, before leaving the team in the summer. Since returning to competition in 2005, Brown has been on a tear, leading the Huskies' distance medley relay to All-America honors indoors and breaking UW's indoor 800-meter record, before adding the Pac-10 800-meter title and a UW record in the 4x400m outdoors.
Half-Mile Madness: Sophomore Ryan Brown's Pac-10 title at 800 meters put a fitting end to a year in which Washington dominated the Pac-10 rankings in the event. Brown, freshman Austin Abbott, and juniors Bruce Jackson and Shane Charles each ran under 1:50 for 800 meters this year, becoming the first half-mile quartet in UW history to do so. In only one other year, 1992, has Washington had as many as three men's runners accomplish the feat, while prior to 2005, no two Huskies had done so in the same season since 1998.
Passing the Baton: Washington's homegrown 4x400-meter squad -- which includes three runners from the Seattle area -- was electric at the Pac-10 Championships, breaking a 30-year-old UW record with a time of 3:03.85, including a 44.8-second anchor by junior Bruce Jackson. The time was a four-second improvement over the relay's previous best, and moved the squad up to seventh in the national rankings entering this week's NCAA West Regional. This year's relay includes two of the Husky four who placed 14th at the 2004 NCAA Championships, the team's first NCAA appearance in the event since 1998. Joining returnees Jackson and Sean Williams are relay newcomers Ryan Brown and Shane Charles, the former the 2005 Pac-10 800-meter champion and the latter Grenada's national-record holder in the 400-meter hurdles. Three of the four are All-Americans, with Williams and Brown having earned the honor with UW's fifth-place distance medley relay in 2005, and Charles grabbing a junior-college All-America honor in the quarter hurdles in 2004. Williams, in particular, has made a career of running on UW relays -- the senior has had a hand in 15 different relays that rank among UW's top-10 all-time, including the record 4x400 outdoors and each of UW's top-five indoor distance medley relays. Should the quartet earn All-America honors this year, they would be the first UW squad to do so since 1998, and the first outdoors since 1990.
It's Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight: Four-time All-American pole vaulter Kate Soma may stand only an inch above 5'-0', but the Husky senior cuts a towering figure in collegiate pole vaulting history. Soma has cleared the elite 14-foot barrier four times in her UW career and three times this season, including a UW indoor record clearance of 14-3 1/2 on Feb. 12 that equals the seventh-best by a collegiate vaulter all-time, and is tops by a collegian in 2005. The Portland, Ore., native is tied for seventh among American women in the 2005 IAAF World Rankings, and is the 27th-ranked woman in the world. Soma earned second at March's NCAA Indoor Championships, her second-straight runner-up honor in the event and her fourth-career All-America performance, equaling Aretha Hill and Meg Jones for the most such honors in UW history. That consistency has helped Soma to break UW's pole vault record in each of her seven collegiate 'seasons,' including four indoors and three outdoors. In clearing 14-3 1/2, Soma backed up her UW outdoor record clearance of 14-2 at last year's Pac-10 Championships, a vault which won Soma her first Pac-10 title and qualified her for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Soma followed up her Pac-10 crown with a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships and her second All-America honor of the year, a feat accomplished by just four other UW women all-time. Perhaps it's her support system -- Soma's mother, Donna, boasts an U.S. vault age-group record, while her high school coach designs shoes worn by elite vaulters Dragila and Dmitri Markov.
All-Time NCAA Division-I Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Thorey Elisdottir, Georgia, 2001, 14-9 1/2i
4. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
5. Lacy Janson, Florida State, 2003, 14-7 1/4i
5. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
7. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
7. Melissa Price, Fresno State, 1998, 14-3 1/2
9. April Steiner, Arkansas, 2003, 14-3 1/4i
9 Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
Moving On Up: Including her runner-up effort at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, senior Kate Soma has matched or improved her finish in each of her six-career appearances at the NCAA meet, having placed 16th outdoors in 2002, 12th indoors and seventh outdoors in 2003, fifth (tied) indoors and second outdoors in 2004, and second indoors in 2005. Should that trend continue at June's NCAA Outdoor meet, Soma could become just UW's third NCAA women's champion, and the first since 1988.
Vault Supremacy: Washington reigns supreme in the world of collegiate women's vaulting -- four UW women qualified for the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships, most-ever for any team in the event. Kate Soma and Ashley Wildhaber each earned All-America honors with top-five finishes, giving UW four vaulters with career top-13 NCAA finishes under their belts, including finishes of 11th and 13th, respectively, by Carly Dockendorf and Stevie Marshalek at the 2004 NCAA outdoor meet. The four also are the only quartet in collegiate vault history to each boast bests above 13-5, including marks by Soma (14-3 1/2) and Wildhaber (13-9 1/4) that rank among the top-10 in Pac-10 Conference history. That number could soon increase to five, with freshman Kelley DiVesta, the fifth-place Pac-10 finisher, already over 12-11 1/2 this season.
All-Time Pac-10 Pole Vault Top-10
Name, School, Year, Mark
1. Chelsea Johnson, UCLA, 2004, 15-0
2. Amy Linnen, Arizona, 2002, 14-10 1/4i
3. Becky Holliday, Oregon, 2003, 14-8
4. Tracy O'Hara, UCLA, 2000, 14-7 1/4
5. Kate Soma, Washington, 2005, 14-3 1/2i
6. Tamara Diles, Wash. State, 2002, 14-3 1/4i
7. Nikki McEwen, Oregon, 2003, 14-1 1/4
7. Connie Jerz, Arizona, 2003, 14-1 1/4
9. Ashley Wildhaber, Washington, 2005, 13-9 1/4i
9. Andrea Dutoit, Arizona, 2001, 13-9 1/4
Brains And Brawn: In just two short years, sophomore Martin Bingisser has rocketed up the collegiate hammer rankings -- but it's his accomplishments out of the cage that truly set him apart. A two-time third-place finisher at the Pac-10 Championships, and the No. 6 seed in this week's NCAA West Regional, Bingisser will earn his bachelor's degree in philosophy in June after just three years of college, and has been accepted into the UW School of Law this fall. The Interlake High School graduate, who will likely use his final two years of eligibility while pursuing his J.D., has been on a tear since transferring from Cal State Northridge in the fall of 2004, culminating with a personal-best toss of 206-11 at May's Ken Shannon Invitational, UW's fourth-best ever and the second-best by a Pac-10 competitor this year. In addition, Bingisser is among the country's leading hammer scholars, with a website -- HammerCenter.com -- providing the nation's most comprehensive coverage of the hammer at the prep and college level, plus videos and other instruction tools.
Dazzling Debut: Freshman Norris Frederick has done everything he can to back up the hype that accompanied his signing with Washington, earning All-America honors, breaking UW's freshman record in the long jump, and nabbing top-five Pac-10 Championships finishes in the long- and high jumps. The Roosevelt High School alum has already become the only UW athlete ever to long jump 25 feet and high-jump seven feet in their career, boasting season bests of 25-6 1/4 and 7-0 1/2 that each rank among the top-five in the West Region entering this week's Championship. Frederick launched six long jumps over 25 feet during the 2005 indoor season, the best a 25-foot, 6 1/4 inch monster that led all NCAA freshmen indoors, and ranks seventh in the 2005 IAAF World Junior Rankings. The talented freshman earned All-America honors with a sixth-place finish in the long jump at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet -- tops by a UW long jumper since 1965 -- and is one of just 12 Huskies ever to clear the seven-foot mark in the high jump. Success for Frederick, currently America's top-ranked junior-age competitor, is certainly to be expected -- he ranked second among U.S. prep high jumpers in 2004 with a best of 7-1, and was the United States' fourth-ranked prep long jumper at 24-10 1/2. Frederick literally jumped out of his shoes at July's IAAF World Junior Championships in Italy, tearing apart the footwear which had guided him to five state titles during his four-year prep career. With borrowed shoes, Frederick managed to place 19th in both events at the world meet, and closed the 2004 season ranked among the top-35 under-20 athletes in the world.
2005 IAAF Junior Men's Long Jump Rankings
Name Country Mark
1. Viktor Kuznyetsov Ukraine 26-11 3/4i
2. Mihail Mertzanidis-Despoteris Greece 25-9 1/2
2. Jie Ding China 25-9 1/2i
4. Chris Noffke Australia 25-8 1/4
4. Saleh Abdelaziz Al-Haddad Kuwait 25-8 1/4
6. Tony Moody Cuba 25-7 1/4
7. Norris Frederick United States 25-6 1/4i
8. Adrian Vasile Romania 25-4 3/4i
9. Zutao Jin China 25-4i
10. Sebastian Bayer Germany 25-3 1/2i
The `Lo' Down: Some wondered how Ashley Lodree could possibly top her breakout freshman year of 2004 -- including two school records, five marks among UW's all-time top-10, an NCAA Championships appearance and a top-10 world junior ranking -- but the 19-year-old has shown little signs of slowing in her sophomore season. The Richmond, Calif., native captured her first-career All-America honor with a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, then scored in three events at the Pac-10 Championships in May. Lodree's Pac-10 trifecta included a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles in 13.23 seconds, nearly two tenths below her own UW record, and good for fourth in the West Region this year. Already a factor on seven of UW's all-time top-10 lists, Lodree added the 400-meter hurdles and 4x100 meters to her repetoire in 2005, including a time of 59.65 in the former that ranked ninth in UW history, and was the Pac-10's third-fastest this year. Lodree currently ranks among UW's all-time top-10 in nine different events, including school records of 13.23 in the 100-meter hurdles and 8.15 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. She also boasts marks this year in the 60-meter dash (7.44 seconds, 2nd all-time), indoor 200-meter run (24.81, 2nd), 4x100-meter relay (46.04, tied 7th) and 4x400-meter relay (3:44.58, 9th) that rank among UW's best all-time, and is currently ranked 16th among American women in the 100-meter hurdles.
Fast Start: Sophomore Ashley Lodree, who in March earned the first All-America honor by a UW women's 60-meter hurdler since 1994, has wasted no time getting her UW career out of the blocks. Lodree was a one-woman whirlwind as a freshman, placing 14th in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2004 NCAA indoor meet before bettering UW's 100-meter hurdles record seven times outdoors, including a wind-aided best of 13.39 at the Texas Relays, and a legal record of 13.41 seconds at the Drake Relays. Despite just missing an NCAA outdoor berth with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional, Lodree's efforts ranked her No. 7 in the world, and No. 2 among Americans, in the 2004 IAAF Junior World Rankings.
Leading From the Front: After consecutive sixth-place finishes in the 1,500 meters at the NCAA West Regional in each of the last two seasons -- one spot shy of an automatic NCAA Championships bid -- senior Lindsey Egerdahl is making sure she won't be left out of the NCAA field in 2005. Egerdahl's season-best time of 4:19.07, the fifth-fastest in UW history, ranks fourth inthe region and ninth in the NCAA, meaning the senior needs only to finish in the top-eight in Eugene this weekend to all but assure an NCAA berth. The senior is certainly going out in style -- in November she led all UW finishers at the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships, and ran eighth in the mile at March's NCAA Indoor Championships. Egerdahl's eighth-place finish in the mile earned the senior her first-career All-America honor, and was the first ever by a UW woman in the event. The honor was a fitting reward for an athlete who has consistently put the team ahead of the individual, leading the UW women to consecutive NCAA cross country berths in 2003 and 2004. Egerdahl ran third overall in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 meet, her fourth-straight top-10 Pac-10 finish in the event, and ranks among UW's top-10 all-time indoors in the mile (3rd, 4:42.27) and 3,000 meters (4th, 9:35.08), and has run legs of four of UW's 10-fastest distance medley relays.
Rare Double: From the first time she entered a pole vault competition -- going 12-1 1/2 at Husky Stadium in 2002 -- it was obvious that junior Carly Dockendorf, already a decorated UW gymnast, was in an elite class of athletes. Just two years later, Dockendorf moved into a class all her own, adding an NCAA Track Championships berth to the NCAA Gymnastics invite she earned last April. While it is not uncommon for a college athlete to compete in multiple NCAA Championships in one year -- track/cross country and volleyball/basketball doubles being among the most common -- to do so in two unrelated sports in which qualification is based on individual, not team, performance is extremely rare. Dockendorf finished 11th in her NCAA pole vault debut, after placing 24th on the floor exercise at April's NCAA gymnastics meet. The junior nearly repeated the feat this season, placing 17th in the pole vault at March's NCAA Indoor Track Championships before falling one-tenth of a point shy of qualifying for the NCAA gymnastics meet in April.
Double-Duty Dockendorf: There is no doubt that pole vaulter/gymnast Carly Dockendorf -- currently the nation's 11th-ranked women's vaulter -- is one of the finest two-sport athletes in UW history. The Port Moody, B.C., native added to her legend in March with a 17th-place finish in the vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas, just 19 hours after competing in Utah for the Husky gymnastics team. Balancing two sports is nothing new to Dockendorf -- the junior earned a second-straight NCAA gymnastics berth last April, before a terrific 2004 track season that included a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 meet, third place at the NCAA Regional, and 11th place at the NCAA Championships. After missing the first two months of the 2005 indoor track season with an injury, Dockendorf cleared a personal-best 13-5 1/4 in her Mar. 5 season debut to cinch an NCAA indoor berth, before upping her lifetime PR to 13-5 3/4 outdoors -- seventh-best ever by a Canadian. Amazingly, Dockendorf has been pole vaulting for less than three years, having begun the sport only after watching Husky vaulters train during her freshman gymnastics season in 2002. Dockendorf began her two-sport double on a full-time basis in 2003, winning All-America honors on the gymnastics floor while placing eighth in the pole vault at the Pac-10 Championships. Her seven perfect 10s are the most by any UW gymnast all-time, while her seven-career vaults over 13 feet rank second in UW history.
Athletics Canada All-Time Women's Pole Vault Rankings
Name, Year, Mark
1. Dana Buller, 2004, 14-8
2. Stephanie McCann, 2004, 14-5 1/4
3. Kelsie Hendry, 2005, 14-4 1/2i
4. Ardin Tucker-Harrison, 2002, 13-9 ¾
5. Trista Bernier1998, 13-7 1/4
6. Jackie Honey, 2001, 13-6 1/4
7. Carly Dockendorf, 2005, 13-5 ¾
7. Adrienne Vangool, 2004, 13-5 3/4
9. Sue Kupper, 2005, 13-3 1/2i
10. Simona Kovacic, 2003, 13-2 ¼
Island Fever: Don't be surprised if Seattle seems a bit tropical this spring-- with three Caribbean sprinters on the Washington roster, there's a distinct island flavor to the 2005 season. Grenada's Shane Charles joins Jamaica's Patrick Davidson and Davaon Spence on the Husky roster this year, giving the UW three sprinters with significant international experience. Grenada's national champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003, Charles set a senior national record in the event at last week's Pac-10 Championships, clocking a time of 50.46 seconds to add to the junior national record he set in 2001. Charles earned junior-college All-America honors at Central Arizona JC in 2004, clocking a 50.95 in the 400-meter hurdles, and is currently the nation's 10th-ranked collegian in the event this year. Spence and Davidson, meanwhile, teammates at Kingston, Jamaica's St. Jago High School, combined for a world youth record in the 4x400 meters at the 1999 World Youth Games in Poland, and led Jamaica's mile relay to a silver medal at the 1999 PanAm Games. The two split up to attend junior colleges in the U.S. before reuniting at UW last season, each setting Pac-10 qualifying marks before injuries cut their seasons short in May. The two have rebounded strong in 2005, leading UW's 4x100-meter relay to fifth at the Pac-10 meet, its time of 40.00 seconds the sixth-best ever at UW.
Remember Me?: To the casual Husky fan, junior Will Conwell may have fallen off the radar in 2003 when he gave up a career as a UW linebacker to throw the discus. After redshirting the 2003 season with two broken wrists, Conwell burst back onto the scene in 2004, taking fourth place at the Pac-10 Championship, before adding a fifth-place finish in 2005. Conwell's indoor PR of 188-5 would rank eight in UW history if duplicated outdoors, while his and an outdoor best of 178-10 is the region's 12th-best entering this week's meet. Once expected to follow his uncle, UW legend Ernie Conwell, to football glory, Conwell is instead focusing on matching his famous uncle's throwing accolades. A five-year track letterwinner at Washington, the elder Conwell ranks fourth in UW history in the shot put, and placed fifth in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
Record Rookies: Husky freshmen have been outstanding in 2005, combining for three All-America honors, one school record, six freshman records, four top-five Pac-10 Championships finishes, and 19 marks among the team's top-10 all-time. Seattle's Norris Frederick, the sixth-place long jumper at the 2005 NCAA indoor meet, broke a 34-year-old UW freshman record in the event at April's Mt. SAC Relays, clearing 25-3 1/4 to climb to fourth in UW history overall. Chehalis native Austin Abbott, the Pac-10 runner-up at 1,500 meters, also set a UW freshman record at Mt. SAC, his time of 3:44.36 in the 1,500 just under Carl Moe's record set one year ago. Abbott and Wenatchee's Amanda Miller joined Frederick on the All-America stand at the NCAA Indoor meet in March, becoming the first freshman trio ever to earn All-America honors at the same NCAA competition. In fact, just six Husky freshmen had earned All-America awards, indoors or out, since 1990, including none since 1999. All three have added to UW's record books this season, with Miller setting an indoor school record of 2:06.76 in the 800 meters, and Frederick adding indoor marks of 25-6 1/4 in the long jump and 7-0 1/4 in the high jump to rank second all-time on both lists. The success hasn't just been limited to those three, however. Freshmen Jordan Boase and Kelley DiVesta posted marks among UW's all-time outdoor bests, and earned top-six Pac-10 finishes in the 4x100m and pole vault, respectively. Even UW's redshirts have made noise, with distance runners Jeremy Mineau and Jon Harding both earning international cross country acclaim, including a 68th-place finish by Mineau at March's IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and a sixth-place finish for Harding at the NACAC Championships in February.
Everett Connection: Washington junior Mark Mandi and senior Andy Fader have come a long way from the days when Mandi flipped burgers at a McDonald's in Everett, Wash., and Fader was one of his regular customers. Back then, Mandi was an aspiring high-school distance runner who had not picked up the sport until his junior year at Everett's Mariner High School, and was admittedly in awe of the local prep stars, including Fader, who patronized the Everett McDonald's where he then worked. Cascade alum Fader, meanwhile, was one of the state's top prospects, with four-career top-10 state track finishes and a pair of WesCo league titles to his credit. Four years later, the Everett tandem are two of the nation's fastest competitors at 5,000 meters, with Mandi clocking an NCAA Regional-qualifying time of 14:05.99 at Stanford in March, and Fader two seconds behind in 14:08.07. While Fader was among UW's top recruits in 2001, Mandi enrolled at Washington as a student, before walking on to the UW cross country squad in the fall. Just a year later, Mandi was running in UW's top-seven at every varsity competition, while Fader earned a second-straight top-10 finish in the 1,500 meters at the Pac-10 Championships. In 2003, the two united to lead Washington's men's cross country squad to its first NCAA Championships since 1993, with Mandi leading all Huskies in 67th overall, less than three years after barely cracking the top-50 at the state cross country meet as a high-school senior. The two have since ensured that their remarkable story will not soon be forgotten, with Mandi clocking the UW's seventh-fastest 10,000-meter mark all-time, and Fader earning marks among UW's top-10 all-time indoors in the 5,000 meters and mile, while anchoring the UW's distance medley relay to All-America honors and a fifth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships.
20 Years of Spear Success: From Fred Luke and Duncan Atwood to Darryl Roberson and Helena Uusitalo, Washington has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the javelin. Since 1982, when women's track and field joined the NCAA, the Huskies have sent at least one javelin thrower to all but three NCAA Championships, including All-American performances by Megan Spriestersbach in 2004, and Heather Reichmann in 2003. The list of Washington's javelin greats includes four Pac-10 Champions (Uusitalo, `87; Roberson, `88-89; Troy Burkholder, `96), three NCAA champions (Uusitalo, `86, Tom Sinclair, `79 Cary Feldman, `71) and three U.S. Olympians (Atwood, `80, `84; Rod Ewaliko, `80; Fred Luke, `72). In UW history, only the four NCAA titles won in the hammer -- all by Scott Neilson -- eclipse the Huskies' national-championship prowess in the spear, which includes a UW-record 27 All-Americans all-time. Five Husky javelin throwers qualified for the 2004 NCAA West Regional Championships, including senior Spriestersbach, who followed up a second-place regional finish with a fourth-place effort at the national meet, tops by a UW woman in the event since 1987. The senior set a Washington school record and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials with her final collegiate toss, a 173 foot-7 inch monster that broke her own UW record by more than six feet, and was the third-best in Pac-10 history. Senior Rigel Wise and junior Tiffany Zahn are doing their part to carry on the tradition in 2005, both earning top-five Pac-10 Championships finishes. Ranked 17th in the nation entering this week's regional, Wise is attempting to become the first UW men's spearer since 2000 to reach the national meet.
Midles Leads 13 UW Signees: Twelve preps and one community college athlete have signed letters of intent to attend the University of Washington next fall, including 2004 national prep hammer champion Zack Midles. The Capital High School (Olympia, Wash.) senior is America's third-ranked prep in 2005, with a season-best of 222-8 that has been bettered by only two collegiate throwers this year. Joining Midles at Washington in 2005-06 will be Highline (Wa.) Community College sprinter Alex Harcourt, whose best of 46.61 in the 400 meters would have scored at last week's Pac-10 Championships. A trio of Northwest prep distance runners will round out UW's men's class of 2006, including Jordan McNamara (Auburn, Wash./Auburn-Riverside) and state cross country champions Kelly Spady (Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak) and Michael Dols (Chelan, Wash./Chelan). Palo Alto's Tori Tyler and Portland's Annaliese Chapa lead a deep women's distance class that also includes Emily Collins (Eugene, Ore./Marist), Brooke Lademan (Rolling Hills, Calif./Palos Verdes) and Brooke Anderson (San Diego, Calif./University City). They will be joined by hurdler Falesha Ankton (Benicia, Calif./Benicia) and jumper Laurie Roberts (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton).
Resourceful Recruiting: Washington's coaches in 2005 have found a creative way to add elite athletes to the squad without giving up scholarships -- recruit talent from UW's other sports. The current UW track roster includes three members of Washington's football team, two Husky women's basketball players, and a UW gymnast. The most accomplished of the sextet is gymdawg Carly Dockendorf, a two-time NCAA competitor in the pole vault with a lifetime best of 13-5 1/4. Dockendorf is joined by football players Isaiah Stanback, Cody Ellis and Matt Fountaine, and women's basketball players Angie Jones and Jill Bell. Stanback, who played in seven games at quarterback for the UW in 2004, qualified for the MPSF meet indoors in the 60-meter dash, and clocked a 10.93 for 100 meters outdoors. Wide receiver Ellis and cornerback Fountaine also competed at 60 meters indoors, while sophomore Jones, a reserve guard, has competed in the high jump. The gem of the group could be Bell, who made her UW long jump debut in Oregon earlier this month. The basketball team's top rebounder, Bell set a state prep record in the long jump in 2000, and was the ninth-place finisher in the event at the 1999 World Youth Championships. On the flipside, Husky jumper J.R. Wolfork -- an NCAA Regional qualifier in the long jump -- suited up at wide receiver for the Husky football team during spring practice.
You Might Recall: The practice of mining talent from other UW programs has unearthed countless gems for the Husky track program in the past. In fact, a glance at Washington's career top-10 charts reveals several such performers, including 110m hurdles record-holder Spider Gaines, a tailback for the UW football team in the 1970s, and sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, the UW record-holder at 100m, 200m, and 400m and a Husky wide receiver from 1997-98. Others on the list include football players Ernie Conwell (No. 5, shot put), Dana Hall (No. 3, 110m HH), Sterling Hinds (No. 3, 100m/200m), Pete Kaligis (No. 6, shot put), Orlando McKay (No. 2, 400m), Brent Merritt (No. 6, 400m) and Tony Parrish (No. 5, triple jump), basketball players Tara Davis (No. 1, triple jump; No. 2, long jump) and Heather Reichmann (No. 2, javelin) and All-American volleyball star Makare Desilets (No. 5, high jump). UW's two-sport stars have even excelled on the world stage -- Herman Brix and Paul Jessup, who starred for UW's football teams in the 1920s, each competed at the Olympic Games, and set world records in the shot put and discus, respectively.
Head Coach Greg Metcalf: Former Husky All-American Greg Metcalf is in his third year as Washington's head coach of track and field and cross country, and his eighth year overall on the UW staff. In his first two-plus seasons at the helm, Metcalf has led the UW women to three top-30 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including 18th outdoors in 2004 and a tie for 16th indoors in 2005, and has guided the Husky men to consecutive top-30 indoor finishes in each of the last two years. Individually, 12 UW distance runners have earned NCAA berths, with four grabbing All-America accolades, a list which does not include the team's All-America distance medley relay in 2005. In addition, Metcalf has led the Huskies' women's cross country team to the NCAA meet in each of his eight years atop the UW distance program, marking the sixth-longest active streak of NCAA appearances in the nation. In all, Metcalf has coached 17 All-Americans, six Pac-10 champions, 16 school-record setters and 71 NCAA qualifiers. A 1993 UW graduate, Metcalf was a two-time All-American in the steeple, and ran in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Star-Studded Staff: Washington's assistant coaching staff in 2005 is in no way short on accolades. Ninth-year vaults/jumps coach Pat Licari has directed 10 All-Americans, including two-time NCAA champion Brad Walker. Third-year throws coach Bud Rasmussen founded the prestigious Iron Wood Thrower Development Camp, has mentored two All-Americans in two years at Washington, and in seven years at North Idaho College coached 82 NJCAA All-Americans, 18 national champions and five NJCAA record holders. First-year sprints/relays coach LaMonte Vaughn, Jr. mentored Ashley Lodree to All-America honors in 2005, after leading eight Eastern Kentucky sprinters to Ohio Valley Conference titles in 2004, and coaching athletes to 13 school records in four years at Marshall University. Fourth-year distance coach David Bazzi, a Washington alum, was the 2001 Pac-10 champion at 10,000 meters, and still holds three all-time school records. Rounding out the all-star cast is third-year distance coach Kelly Strong, who graduated from Arizona State in 2002 with five All-America honors and three Pac-10 titles, and is largely credited with putting together a women's recruiting class in 2003 that was ranked sixth in the nation by Track and Field News. Ironically, the most accomplished member of the Husky coaching staff is one of the team's volunteer assistants -- former Olympian Duncan Atwood. A UW All-American, two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, Atwood has helped Husky women's javelin throwers earn All-America honors in each of his two seasons with the team, and mentored freshman Brian Harris to an IAAF Junior World Championships berth in 2004.